Hospital using LCP correctly

Milton Keynes Hospital
Milton Keynes Hospital

AN investigation has revealed 276 patients at Milton Keynes Hospital were placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway (end of life care programme) in the last year.

However, the hospital has said patients and their families were consulted before any decision was made and that doctors did not have the final say.

The LCP gives doctors the power to withdraw treatments or tests that could cause unnecessary suffering in the last few days of a patient’s life.

Despite being approved by the Department of Health the Government ordered an independent review after complaints from families around the UK who had not been told their relatives were on the LCP programme.

Martin Wetherill, medical director at Milton Keynes Hospital said: “Milton Keynes Hospital is committed to providing quality care to patients who are at the end of their lives.

“The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) is considered best practice in relation to the sensitive and supportive care of a patient and their family at the end of a patient’s life.

“At Milton Keynes Hospital, patients are placed on the LCP following a discussion between them and their doctors and nurses, if the patient is able, and with the patient’s next-of-kin if not.”

The BBC report suggested that families of patients had made complaints suggesting that clinical decisions were linked to a financial incentive owing to them reaching a certain target.

Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge was found to be in line for a £1million Government bonus for promoting their end of life care, the report claimed.

However, Mr Wetherill was keen to point out that was not the case in Milton Keynes and that the hospital was not using the LCP programme to gain any such bonus.

He said: “There are no financial incentives with relation to the use of the LCP at Milton Keynes Hospital.”

Figures from the investigation found that more than 10,000 patients in the region had been placed on the LCP.